History Term Paper

Molly Warren World History G May 6, 2007

“Any fool can make history, but it takes a genius to write it” – Oscar Wilde Over the past 300 years, humans have taken major technological steps, advancing us to the high-tech community seen today. Simple mechanizations such as seed drills during the Agricultural Revolution paved the way for the machine guns used in World War I that killed thousands upon thousands of soldiers who were only pawns in an intergovernmental struggle. Warfare soon became a major part of economy because of the supplies needed to support a military in battle. War would be nothing it is today without the scientific discoveries of the past 300 years. Economic and technological advances paved the way for nuclear war. At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, agricultural methods were becoming more and more efficient. The Enclosure Movement allowed smaller landholdings to be made into more efficient holdings. New technology was being used for agriculture, such as crop rotation, Jethro Tull’s seed drill, and the use of bronze and iron to replace wood. These new concepts called for fewer laborers, so there was a massive migration to the cities where jobs were opening up left and right due to the rise of industry. Mechanization brought jobs that required little skill and were very dangerous. Steam engines took the place of manual labor, and the number of skilled jobs decreased dramatically. Men of trade could no longer find work to support their families, and now it was up to the women and children to brave the dangers of factory work. During this economic revolution, the middle class emerged and flourished. These people were classified as having large homes, possessing an education, and having a higher social

status that most others. All this mass industrialization caused a serious uneven distribution of wealth. Karl Marx came up with his own belief on how to correct this uneven distribution of wealth—socialism. Marx believed that the government for the benefit of the citizens should control all means of production. Marx also said: “Capital is reckless of the health or length of life of the laborer, unless under compulsion from society.” He felt that capitalists were cruel; he wanted to work for the rights of the people. He said: “Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains.” He said this because it was true. Without the workers, the economy would collapse. Marx knew that if the workers banded together, they could manipulate the upper class however they saw fit. However, having the proletariats band together for their common good was far from likely. The next political theory to evolve was the theory of liberalism. It supported the government protection of individual rights and civil liberties, and gave suffrage. Reforms of the early 1900’s included the House of Lords losing their power of veto, the House of Commons receiving salaries, and suffragettes petitioning for women’s right to vote led by Emmeline Pankhurst. Canada received its own government, Australia was made into a penal colony, and New Zealand became self-governed. In all three of these lands the native people were mistreated and stolen from. The next infant country to mistreat natives was the United States. Territorial expansion pushed Native Americans further and further away. Americans also imported

their labor—slavery. Many, especially in the South, did not consider slavery immoral. When Abraham Lincoln was elected President, the first order of business on his agenda was to abolish slavery. This action led to a domino effect; first, North Carolina, followed by many, seceded from the Union. After that, the Civil War broke out. This quickly escalated into total war; Yankee soldiers came to be known to destroy everything in their paths. Some even used to uproot train tracks and wrap them around trees in order to prevent any importing, exporting, or transportation in or out of town. The war was ended soon after, not because of, the Emancipation Proclamation delivered by President Lincoln in Gettysburg. This proclamation freed the slaves, providing a solid solution to an argument that had been going on for decades; however the proclamation was not a total success. Throughout the American Civil War, Imperialism was raging. Countries felt that the addition of several colonies would add to their worldly status as a great and powerful nation. Countries would take control of lesser countries through their government, trade, or culture. Imperialists appeared to be assisting the natives, however, all they wanted was the natural resources they needed to progress their economy. Soon, several disagreements over colonies surfaced. Military sprawled across the world often presented an offensive edge. Also, hatred grew between colonized people. The motives for imperialism were cultural, political, and economic. Political motives were for collection of power and to show off your large military. These two motives are very subliminally offensive and intimidating to other countries. The consequences of imperialism quickly reared their ugly head as the French and British conflicted with natives over parts of Africa. The Europeans wanted parts of North

Africa for their natural resources and nothing more. Soon, Europeans moved on to South Africa, triggering what is now known as the Boer War. Soon after, imperialism moved to Latin America. When examining the good effects of imperialism versus the bad, the negative list is much longer than the positive list. World War I was now raging in Europe. World War I was an industrialized war using mass produced weapons. U-boats and toxic gases were now common on the warfront. Machine guns, long-range weaponry, and airplanes were utilized to their maximum. The tank was also used in combat. This was a new kind of war; the heat of battle could be found on land, in the water, and in the air.

However, it was not always economic and technical advances that determine a country’s military future; Russia’s lack of modern technology predetermined its fate in World War I. Russia had insufficient food, armaments, roads, and supplies. A corrupt, inefficient government poorly led them. These factors alone provided the reactants needed for revolution. Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks quickly took over and renamed themselves the Communist Party. They signed a peace treaty with the Central Powers in March of 1918. The communists faced great opposition. The Mensheviks and groups who wanted to restore the monarchy opposed the Bolsheviks, which led to a civil war in Russia. The destruction was similar to that of World War I. The Allies were angry and committed forces, arms, and money to the Mensheviks. However, the communists won and renamed the country the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR).

The bloodshed was taking its toll on the entire developed world. Finally, Woodrow Wilson authored the Fourteen Points, guidelines that, if followed, would ensure world peace. They did not work very well. World War Two was fought in two major places, the Pacific and in Europe. The war in Europe began when the German Army invaded Czechoslovakia on March 15, 1939. The Japanese became allies with Germany in the war and began military aggression, creating a war front in the Pacific. The European conflict ended six years later, when General Alfred Jodl signed the official surrender of Nazi Germany on May 8, 1945. Winston Churchill immediately announced that this day would be a national holiday known as Victory in Europe (VE) Day. Later, the war ended with Victory over Japan (VJ) on September 2, 1945 when Douglas McArthur accepted Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay. World War II changed the way women viewed in the workforce and in the military. Because of the shortage of men, women were forced into the workforce in which inevitably changed their roles in the workplace forever. Over six million women took jobs for the first time during World War II, a 57 percent rise in working women. They began working in blue-collar jobs, previously available only to men. As many as two million women entered defense plants making airplane frames, engines, propellers, parachutes, gas masks, and electrical equipment. These women worked long hours only to go home and cook and clean for their family. The American media nicknamed these women "Rosie the Riveter". The war also had jobs available to women to work in the war itself. These women played an active role in the war in journalism.

World War II dragged on continually, and with Italy changing sizes and Nazi Germany taken over, all that needed to be taken care of was Japan. However, Japan would not desist. After Roosevelt died, Truman had a painful decision to make. Should he use the atomic bomb and unleash the power to kill millions, or should he save the weaponry, putting off the Nuclear Era as long as possible? John Hersey’s Hiroshima is a first-hand account of the fallout of Truman’s decision. The book begins with a description of the six characters and what they were doing when the bomb detonated. It tells the story of each of their journeys in the moments, hours, days, and months following the detonation of “Little Boy.” “Over everything—up through the wreckage of the city, in gutters, along the riverbanks, tangled among tiles and tin roofing, climbing on charred tree trunks—was a blanket of fresh, vivid, lush, optimistic green; the verdancy rose even from the foundations of ruined houses. Weeds already hid the ashes, and wild flowers were in bloom among the city’s bones. The bomb had not only left the underground organs of the plants intact; it had stimulated them.” (Hersey) This quote explains how no matter how technologically advanced humans become, Mother Nature will still be there. In the most unnatural situations in history, nature was still omnipresent. The quote also shows how with all the death in the world, life can still go on. “He was the only person making his way into the city; he met hundreds and hundreds who were fleeing, and every one of them seemed to be hurt in some way. The eyebrows of some were burned off and skin hung from their faces and hands. Others, because of pain, held their arms up as if carrying something in both hands. Some were vomiting as they walked. Many were naked or in shreds of clothing. On some undressed bodies, the burns had made patterns—of undershirt straps and suspenders and, on the skin of some women (since white repelled the heat from the bomb and dark clothes absorbed it and conducted it to the skin), the

shapes of flowers they had had on their kimonos. Many, although injured themselves, supported relatives who were worse off. Almost all had their heads bowed, looked straight ahead, were silent, and showed no expression whatsoever.” (Hersey) This quote shows one man’s struggle against his own society, against a war not targeted at him, against a punishment he did not bring upon himself. It shows the suffering brought upon a nation’s citizens brought on by their own government. As one can gather, simple technological advances easily set the foundation for scientists, inventors, and engineers to come up with new ways to slaughter their enemies. What seemed to be steps In the correct direction only caused more human suffering. Economic and technological advances paved the way for the Nuclear Era.

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